Happy birthday, my love.
I’ve wanted to write you so many times but I have been really struggling with my words. So many emotions and thoughts have been rattling around my brain, but I have had trouble ironing them out and laying them down to paper. I’m okay, and then I’m not. I think I’ve turned a corner and then grief throttles my heart. I’m beaming with pride and then I question if I’m allowed to be. I’m evolving along this 14 year journey without you physically with me, but it’s at the expense of your loss. When grief isn’t kicking my tush, the guilt takes over.
Today, I’ll let some of the words out and not worry if they are right, or perfect or a broken flipping record.
15 years ago I was 42 weeks preggers and on my way to the hospital to get induced. I was so scared to meet you. I was a newly single emotional mommy and quite overwhelmed at the thought of our unknown future. I wasn’t sure how I was going to work full time and have you and your sister cared for. I was in a panic over nearly everything. I worked up until this day and I after a week at home with you and your sister, I was going to have to go back to work while taking care of a newborn and a nearly 2 year old, all on my own. At 24 years old, I was still a scared child myself.
Zachary, it is no exaggeration of the truth when I tell you the moment I met you, all of the stress melted away. Holding you and your sister in my arms, felt right and empowering. I wanted to fight for you and Kenzy, while being the best mommy that I could, despite the tornado that was my life. There were still tears. Many of them. Everything felt like an uphill battle, but you and Kenzy gave me such purpose. I wanted so much more for my littles.
14 years of birthdays without you and I still battle the same feelings just at different intensities at different times. Anger still creeps into my heart and I have moments of numbing grief. I know the truth, still I can’t help but feel devastated at the thought of not being able to protect you. Nothing can change what’s already happened, so we just learn to live the best we can. We all miss you so dearly.
Your birthday tradition continued. I guess I need to ask myself how many more years we do this and if this tradition eventually changes, what can I do next to feel like I give you the time and love you deserve. It’s sobering to look at these images. The first time we celebrated your birthday without you, Kenzy was just 3 and now she’s a few weeks shy of 17. Liam’s first balloon to you was his inked baby hand-print on a balloon and this year he’s talking about middle school. We have grown so much, but you haven’t. You’re forever my baby boy. We continue to wonder what it would have been like to have you in our lives. Kenzy shared about her job and that she’s driving now. Liam talked about the games he likes to play and about school. The common thread between their messages was their love for you. You’ve got one incredible big sister and little brother.
In addition to our balloon release, Bill and I worked together to make you something sweet this year too. We crafted a little to make a sign commemorating all of your birthdays. You are sandwiched in the middle, surrounded by love. We added an arrow to the the sign to signify #marchforth. I love it and can’t wait to hang it with all of our family items.
It has to be a mom’s greatest wish to have her child still present after so many years. I love seeing your face while scrolling through my Facebook wall. It’s such a small gesture, but it shows how much you’re loved and thought about, even by those who have never met you. I got texts and calls from people who just mean the world to me. I’m so lucky to have such a wide net of people to catch me when I’m falling and to throw me right back into place.